My mother came from Norwich, Connecticut. Evidently, there were some awesome bakeries there. She had a thing for Kaiser Rolls. I started baking in Junior High School. I had to learn how to bake the famous rolls. I've been working this dough for a long time.
3 cups All Purpose (unbleached, organic) flour
1 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoon butter, melted
3/4 cup warm water
No nutrition information available
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Add a couple tablespoons water if you have trouble making the dough come together.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes.
Let it rest under the mixing bowl for 10 minutes.
Knead the dough another 5 minutes. It'll be on the stiff side, but satiny and lively.
Oil the mixing bowl, and roll the dough around in it til coated. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise one hour.
Using your trusty dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 - 8 even pieces. Shape the pieces into balls.
To shape the roll: with the dough ball sitting on the counter, press the thumb of your left hand into the center (not too hard, you don't need to turn it into a bagel) and use your index finger to pick up the edge and fold it into the center. Turn the roll 1/5 turn, and repeat, folding the outer edge into the center. You should end up with 5 or 6 "pleats."
Place the shaped rolls on a parchment covered rimmed baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with olive oil. Cover the rolls with another sheet of parchment. Place a cookie sheet on top of the parchment. Place a cast iron frying pan on top of the cookie sheet.
Let the rolls rise 45 minutes. Place a cake pan or rimmed cookie sheet on the floor or lowest rack in the oven. Set the oven on 440 degrees. (I mean it. 425 isn't hot enough. 450 is too hot.)
After 45 minutes, take off the cast iron pan, the cookie sheet, and the parchment. The rolls will have risen, but they'll be pretty flat.
Brush the tops lightly with water, and sprinkle with whatever seeds you like: poppy, sesame, nigella, even flaked salt or nothing at all.
Put the sheet on the center rack. Pour a cup of water into the pan on the oven floor. Look Out! Steam Burns!!!!
Bake at 440 for 16 - 18 minutes. Rolls should be nicely browned on top and the bottom should also be lightly browned.
Cool on a rack. Awesome rolls, aren't they?
Next time, play around with the number of rolls in a batch. I like smaller rolls, My DH likes bigger rolls. I divide the dough in half, cut his half into 3, and mine into 4. Figure out what works for you. These make fantastic sandwich rolls, burger buns, or "personal loaves" to go with a bowl of soup, chowder, or stew.